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Things I love about California/Northern California:

  1. Mexican Food
  2. Avocados
  3. Radio stations that play good (and fairly varied) music. (Side note to towns like Denver: If I hear the same song within an hour on the same radio station, you’re doing it wrong.)
  4. Radio commercials about California Avocados or just other things that we do well. Where else do they have “commercials” that are actually just us patting ourselves on the back for being an awesome place?
  5. The fact that no one from here calls it “cali” (at least no one from norcal)
  6. The fact that drivers drive well, drive fast, drive (mostly) aware of their surroundings, and know how to merge.
  7. The fact that we can drive forever in the left lane of the highway as long as you’re not going slow. None of this “Stay right except to pass” nonsense.
  8. The fact that we don’t need “minimum speed” signs. (*Cough Denver Cough*)
  9. People who say “hella” and “hecka” a hecka lot still. And that’s it’s normal to say “dude,” before proceeding with some mildly serious statement. (Ex: “Dude. Did you hear it’s supposed to rain tomorrow??” )
  10. Mexican food.
  11. In N Out
  12. That you can buy booze at the grocery store
  13. That girls wear “short shorts” and it’s not scandalous. And that they’re not considered short. (I remember being in Europe wearing shorts that were almost as long as my fingertips with my arms at my sides and being told by other Americans that those were “booty shorts”. Not that we don’t also have true booty shorts, but our definitions are clearly different.)
  14. The acceptability of wearing flip flops. Almost everywhere. Almost all the time. Unless you’re barefooted.
  15. Despite the drought: all the bodies of water. Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Ponds, pools. We love the water.
  16. The variety of lands and people. San Francisco is not LA is not San Diego is not Chico is not Bishop is not Lake Tahoe is not Humboldt. So many options.
  17. Fresh sea food. And the fact that a shack that says “fresh sea food” doesn’t make me wary.
  18. Mexican Food.
  19. That people (outside of SF) look you in the eye, smile and say hi, even when you’re out running on a trail somewhere.
  20. That you would be out running on a trail somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere.
  21. Being outside.
  22. Raley’s (the best grocery store ever, for those non-northern californians)
  23. The trees. The wildflowers. The dead grass over all the hills in summer, and the green rolling hills of winter. The orchard blossoms in the spring.
  24. The fact that even “conservative California” is pretty liberal & progressive in thought comparatively. (But shhh, don’t tell them that. They want to think they’re really conservative.)
  25. Our public education standards. Maybe they’re not what they should be, but they’re better than many places. I’m thoroughly grateful for my excellent public education experience despite being in a small, poor town.
  26. The frequent use of spanglish scattered through everyday conversations.
  27. Blackberry bushes growing wild everywhere. Even when you don’t want them.
  28. Diversity of wildlife. (Amount of deer seen in the past 12 hours: 3.)
  29. My people there.
  30. Did I mention Mexican Food?

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Jo O’Hanlon is an adventurer and storyteller. She tries to be honest about the ugly and hard parts of life, and the beautiful parts too. This blog is one of the places she shares her thoughts and stories.

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